Painted Rocks, The Oatman Family burial site & More

We had an enjoyable stay at Painted Rock and will certainly be putting this spot on our “return to” list.





Instead of writing a lot about it we will share our pictures and a couple links you can click on to research the Petroglyph Site itself area if you want. But I will say it the most Petroglyphs we have seen in one spot ever. We joked that it must have been right outside of camp and all the parents just kept telling the kids to (take your sharp chisels and go play in the rocks) LOL!! Here are the links.

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Look at this fellow enjoying itself on the rocks.

Look at this fellow enjoying itself on the rocks.

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Another thing nearby was the Oatman Massacre Site. Bob (one of our new found Canadian friends) new of the area and one day him, Skip, Tom, Diane and I took a drive to check it out.

From the campground it’s pretty much all gravel or dirt (very dusty) roads that really any car could get to. But if you have a low clearance small wheeled vehicle you may want to think twice.

Along the way we came across the Fourr Cemetery. Twenty some years after the Oatman Massacre, William and Lucinda Fourr, and their family settled on a ranch in the area that also doubled as the Butterfield Stage stop.


Four of the 6 children they had between 1868 and when they left the area in 1880 died there and are buried here. A 7 year old, 1 month old, a still born baby and a 4th that we are really unclear about. I guess they had 8 kids all together that lived to be adults.


After the cemetery we continued on to where the Oatman family is buried (we are again really unclear on this, one thing we read is that this spot is where they are buried because the ground was to hard atop the mountain where the actual massacre was to dig graves so they were brought down here and then on the other hand we read that the lower site was created by the Daughters of the Amercan Revolution in 1954 as a memorial because it’s much easier to reach for visitors and they are actually buried up on the mountain. So we don’t really know).


This is the lower burial site, or at least the memorial.

This is the lower burial site, or at least the memorial.


From the (burial site?) we walked a short distance to the mountainside and decided to hike up instead of backtracking with the rigs to take a drivable trail to the actual massacre site. Diane and I were in sandals (sturdy Keen sandals I’ll add) which I wouldn’t recommend for this hike but handled it just.

Are you sure there isn't an easier trail over there??!! I think I see one!!! Oh never mind,,, lets go this way.

Are you sure there isn’t an easier trail over there??!! I think I see one!!! Oh never mind,,, lets go this way.

Up we go

Up we go

Once on top we found the actual Oatman Massacre site. On March 19, 1851, Royce and Mary Ann Oatman and their seven children were part of a Mormon wagon train of 85 to 90 heading to the Arizona – California border area. (Again we have read they started the journey in Aug. of 1850 and also read March of 1851). Over time the group dwindled as it travelled west until it got down to just the Oatman family when they reached this area.

We reached the top!! It really was a easy walk.

We reached the top!! It really was a easy walk.

Even though they warned about hostile Indians they pushed on which turned out to be a bad choice. It seems they were camped on this spot when a group of Yavapai Indians approached and asked for food. Royce complied but, afraid that he wouldn’t have enough for his family, refused the Yavapai’s request for seconds. The family, with the exception of fifteen year old Lorenzo, fourteen year old Olive, and her younger sister Mary Ann, were brutally massacred.


Lorenzo survived by playing dead after being knocked on the head and left for dead, while the two girls were taken as hostages. Mary Ann died soon after, and Olive was sold to the Mohave Indians and later ransomed back into white society.

Bob knew all about this area and was full of information. It seems him & Karen have been coming here for a few years and at one point happened across a guy on the trail that actually wrote a book about the area and bought one. What’s the odds of running into an author along a trail as he’s doing more research?

After some research it turns out there are a number of books about the Oatman family journey. And as it turns out Diane has been wanting to read a book about them for some time but now that we have actually visited the site her desire has been fueled even more. Heck I might just read it to. OR I could kick back and have Diane read me a bedtime story each night LOL!!!

After our history lesson we decided to hike a ways on the tabletop of the hill we had just climbed. Bob knew of an area where old sleeping rings could be found so off we went.

Sleeping Ring

Sleeping Ring

I guess they would build this ring of rocks and then find long poles and brace the bottom on the inside of the ring and bend them up and over then brace them on the inside the other side. After doing several of these they would cover them with animal skins to create a sleeping area.

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Hiking the rim

Hiking the rim

After the sleeping rings we worked our way to the edge of the mountain and started our hike back looking for petroglyphs along the way.

Once we got back to the massacre site we walked down the trail that was once were they would take wagons down back in the day after they did their best to carve out a passable trail. You could still see wheel tracks even though barely visible. Actually this would have been a much easier spot to get to the top for us in the first place LOL!!! What were we thinking!!

More from the rim. That light colors strip behind the bush on the right is pretty much where we started our climb and hike.

More from the rim. That light colors strip behind the bush on the right is pretty much where we started our climb and hike.

Hey Bob!!! Are you sure that's the trail!!!???

Hey Bob!!! Are you sure that’s the trail!!!???

We enjoyed the hike but it was getting pretty warm by the time we got back down. Not much shade in these parts.

Once we did find a little shade we shot the bull a bit and then decided to go check out a vent hole Bob knew of just a few miles away so we jumped in our rigs and away we went again!!!

I couldn’t really find anything out about this vent hole but it was interesting to stand at the edge and feel the air come out of it. Stronger at times, warmer and then cooler air would come gushing out at others along with a distinct odor.

Vent hole

Vent hole

You could see down a ways but it wasn’t anything we were going to scurry into, looking from the edge was just fine.

It was nice having friends show up at the campground while we were there, some old and some new. We gathered for a few Happy Hours as well as a few BS sessions over morning coffee. Our old friends Tom & Diane who we met 2 winters and Bob & Karen who we met last year and our new found friends this year Skip & Jean and Robbie & Alice. All together we had the corner on the market of this section of the campground LOL!!

We enjoyed a nice pot luck dinner and a few Happy Hours together and it sounds like a few of us are going to be gathering in Tucson in a couple weeks which we will be looking forward to as well.

We arrived at the campground Friday 2/12/16 and only planned to stay 5 nights but liked the place well enough that we decided to hang around another 5 night’s even though a few of our friends rolled out on Wednesday, heck we had no place to be so it didn’t matter, we love this life.

Robbie & Alice hung around as well and the campground pretty much emptied out during the week but Friday a few new rigs rolled in again.

We pretty much chilled the last few days with a few walks tossed in and a bunch of star gazing in the evenings and some visits with Robbie & Alice.


This road leads to the corral but there are some good spot to branch off and hike in the desert.

This road leads to the corral but there are some good spot to branch off and hike in the desert.

This old corral is just a short hike from the campground

This old corral is just a short hike from the campground.


By the time Monday rolled around it marked 10 days at Painted Rocks dry camping and we were ready to make another move, and a move that would put us in a full hookup site for a couple day’s again so we could catch up on laundry, do a little cleaning and refresh our black, grey and fresh water tanks once again. And I’ll be honest, we have boon-docked 37 out of the last 41 days and I think I’m ready for a stretch of full hookups and amenities again and I think we have a plan to do just that, more on that in another update to come.

But first we wanted to spend a little time in Tucson and see our friends Dianne & Tom’s new home. They have been fulltime RVing for the last 4 years and have decided it was time to buy another house to settle into during the winter months and travel during the summer. Making the switch from full-timers to part-timers.


We made reservations at Lazy Days KOA for a couple nights starting Monday 2/22 to take care of our needs and then plan to move to a boon-docking location for 4 or 5 nights before leaving the area.

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4 Responses to Painted Rocks, The Oatman Family burial site & More

  1. debbiemc14 says:

    Always wanted to go to Oatman. Maybe on our way back home in Oct.

  2. Jim and Barb says:

    The massacre site is interesting, we have never been to that area but it is on our list. I am surprised there are no burro pictures!

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